Larry Hogan Sr. Eulogy
This may be the toughest thing that I have ever had to do, and I can’t promise that I will even be able to get through it.
But it is an incredible honor to be here with our family and with all of you as we celebrate the amazing life, the loving memory, and the lasting legacy of Lawrence Joseph Hogan, Sr.
On behalf of his sisters, Mary and Audrey, his brother Bill, his wife Ilona, sons Matthew, Michael, Patrick, and Timothy, and our entire extended family, we first want to express our deepest appreciation to each and every one of you for being here and also for the outpouring of prayers and support that our family has received.
We are extremely honored that Archbishop Lori has graced us today, and we want to thank St. Mary’s Parish and the other priests who are participating.
My dad would be so honored to know that four Governors attended his service, including every single living Republican governor in Maryland!
Governor Ehrlich and I both got involved in politics and became friends working together in my dad’s campaigns decades ago.
Even though my dad was not always on the same team in political battles, Governor Glendening, I want you to know that he had tremendous respect for you.
He also loved the Governor of New Jersey, who has been an amazing friend. Governor Christie, thank you for coming.
We’re honored to have Lt. Governor Rutherford and Comptroller Franchot; Congressman Hoyer who represents my father’s old district in Congress; Senate President Miller; Speaker Busch; and so many other elected officials and dignitaries who have joined us this morning. Thank you all for being here.
My dad would be so proud and so grateful.
One hundred and seven years ago this very week, on April 23, 1910, President Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech in Paris that contained my dad’s favorite quote:
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again. Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. But who does actually strive to do the deeds. Who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions. Who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
My father kept a framed copy of that quote, and I believe that it defined him and how he chose to lead his life.
Lawrence J. Hogan, Sr. was born in Boston on September 30, 1928.
He was raised in Washington, D.C., went to Gonzaga High School, studied history and philosophy at Georgetown University, and then went to Georgetown Law School.
He worked for the old Washington Times-Herald during his college years, and then for the FBI, where he served as a special agent under J. Edgar Hoover for a decade.
He went back to school and got a master’s degree in public relations from American University and left the FBI to found a small public relations firm where I sometimes got to hang out with him on Saturdays.
Maybe even learned a thing or two about public relations.
He taught classes at the University of Maryland School of Journalism, where he was known for his early morning lectures and for being pretty tough on those future journalists.
Some of them, however, did get the chance to pay him back.
In 1966, Dad ran for Congress in the 5th Congressional District of Maryland.
Even back then, there weren’t many Republicans in Prince George’s County.
Nobody gave him any chance whatsoever to be elected.
He was heavily outspent against an entrenched long term incumbent.
But that was just who Larry Hogan, Sr. was.
To him, no challenge was too big, and nothing ever seemed impossible.
He often ran the races and fought the fights that nobody believed could be won.
Win or lose, he always gave them everything he had.
On election night in 1966, while conceding a surprisingly close loss, he also announced right then that he was running again.
The guy just wouldn’t quit.
So he went to work the next day on another longshot campaign, which he resoundingly won the next time around in 1968.
As a 12-year-old kid, I was so proud to stand next to my dad on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as he was being sworn in as a member of Congress.
He said to me: “Raise your right hand and say the oath with me, that way the 5th Congressional District will get two votes instead of one.”
Now as Steny can attest, I never did actually get the chance to vote in Congress.
But Larry Hogan, Sr. was overwhelmingly elected to three terms before giving up his safe seat in Congress to run for governor in 1974.
He would have been a great governor, however, history had other plans for him.
He served on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate as the whole world was watching the impeachment proceedings.
Would this man be willing to buck his own party, his own president, whom he had so strongly supported, in order to do what he thought was right for the nation?
Despite tremendous pressure, this statesman put aside partisanship and his own personal ambitions.
He made the tough decision.
During his impassioned testimony he said: “Party loyalty and personal affection and precedents of the past must fall before the arbiter of men’s action: the law itself. No man, not even the president of the United States, is above the law. For our system of justice and our system of government to survive, we must pledge our highest allegiance to the strength of the law and not to the common frailties of man.”
With those words, he became the first Republican to come out for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.
He was the only Republican in Congress to vote for all three articles of impeachment.
That decision cost him his party’s nomination for governor that year.
But it was his defining moment.
It is that very moment in history that he is most remembered and most admired for.
And history later proved that his courageous stand was the right thing to do.
After that campaign, he started a law practice with Ilona.
To be honest, I’m pretty sure she did most of the real legal work.
But he still wasn’t quite done with public service or tough political battles.
Four years later, in 1978, he was elected Prince George’s County Executive.
He was the last Republican to ever do so.
To nearly everyone’s surprise, rather than run for a second term, he decided instead to run for the U.S. Senate in 1982.
I’m not sure, but I think Parris Glendening may have been the only one who was thrilled with that decision.
Believe me, I tried to talk him out of it.
It was actually the only time I can ever remember my dad telling me that I was right and that he should have listened to me.
Of course, it took him more than 20 years to admit that.
But my dad was usually right, and he almost always gave great advice.
During the campaign in 2014, I remember he would call me with advice; he’d say: “You should use the green and white signs that I always used, I think some of them may still be in the garage.”
And he repeatedly said, “You really should use that radio jingle that I had in 1968.”
I’d say, “Thanks dad, but campaigns have changed a little bit since then, and they have this new thing called Facebook.”
I’m going to miss those calls, hearing his voice and getting his advice.
On Sunday, two days before the election in 2014, we held a huge campaign rally.
The crowd was fired up, especially when Governor Christie spoke.
He told everyone that if they all gave it everything they had for the next 48 hours, that Boyd Rutherford and I would then spend the next 48 months giving it everything we had for the people of Maryland.
The place went wild, but my Dad who was up on the stage with us was unusually quiet and reflective.
Weeks later, Governor Christie told the story that right after he spoke, my dad, who was sitting in a chair, had tugged on his jacket and said to him, “Governor, do you really think my son can win?”
To which he replied: “Sir, your son is going to be the next governor of Maryland.”
Governor Christie said that tears streamed down my father’s face.
Just two days later, I was elected as the 62nd governor of Maryland, exactly 40 years after my dad was unable to do so himself in 1974.
It was a heck of a night, and no one enjoyed it more than my dad.
And I said to him, “Dad it may have taken 40 years, but we are finally going to have a Larry Hogan as the governor of Maryland.”
Once again, tears streamed down his face.
I have been proud of my father my entire life, but it was at that very moment that I knew just how proud he was of me.
And he was just as proud of all his children.
My sister, who passed away last year, and every single one of his sons.
Our hearts are broken today.
With him goes a part of all of us, but his legacy will long be remembered.
His spirit will live on in our hearts and in the lives of the loving family and the countless friends he leaves behind.
Larry Hogan, Sr. was my hero and the man that I am most proud of.
He was a man in the arena.
He knew victory and defeat.
He stood up and fought, even when the odds were stacked against him, and he never gave up fighting right until the very end.
He spent his entire life fighting valiantly for the things he believed in.
And that, I believe, will forever be his legacy.
May God bless him, and may he rest in peace.